Delaware Welcome & Travel Center Set to Open

HMSHost previews new facility featuring Sunoco, c-store, restaurants

BETHESDA, Md. -- The Delaware Welcome & Travel Center, located between exits 1 and 3 along Interstate 95 near Wilmington, Del., will open June 28. Representatives from travel, dining and shopping company HMSHost Corp., alongside Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Carolann Wicks cut the ribbon for the flagship 42,000 square foot Delaware Welcome & Travel Center at a preview on June 18.

"This Welcome Center is a great example of how the private and public sectors can work together to achieve common [image-nocss] economic goals," said Markell. "The Center is a testament to Delaware's commitment to tourism and is an economic tool that will truly 'wow' visitors to and through Delaware. It complements our efforts in creation, business development and environmental responsibility, giving travelers a great impression of our first state as they enter, exit or hopefully, decide to stay."

Wicks said, "Our goal with this facility is to meet and exceed the needs of the traveling public by providing essential travel services that lead to increased safety on our roadways, while showcasing all that our great state has to offer. This new center is a result of HMSHost and all our partners working with us to ensure we are receiving the best investment possible for Delaware residents and the traveling public."

Approximately 250 HMSHost associates will staff the travel plazaopen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An additional 50 people will be employed at Sunoco. More than 4.5 million visitors will pass annually through the entry doors. The center was constructed in less than 12 months in order to return services to travelers as quickly as possible.

"The Delaware Welcome Center represents a successful partnership between the state of Delaware and HMSHost," said HMSHost's president and CEO Elie W. Maalouf. "We've created a travel 'oasis' that will be a chosen stop for drivers, amplifying DelDOT's vision of transforming the Interstate 95 corridor."

The 10-month construction time frame between September 2009 and June 2010 created approximately 250 jobs. HMSHost and its fuel partner, Sunoco, invested approximately $35 million to finance, design and construct the Delaware Welcome Center. HMSHost will operate and maintain the center throughout the term of the agreement.

The new Delaware Welcome Center has been built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards. It incorporates a number of energy and water conservation features along with the use of recycled and regional building materials. Sunoco's 21-pump fuel campus with an A-Plus Convenience Store is located on the northern end of the complex. At capacity, 40 cars will be able to fuel up at the same time; 50 spaces of CabAire truck parking offering anti-idle truck electrification outlets are located on the southern end of the property.

Once inside the building, travelers will find Baja Fresh, a blend of Southwestern and Mexican cuisine; Brioche Doree, a French bakery and cafe featuring sandwiches and salads; Famous Famiglia Pizza; and Starbucks Coffee; Burger King, Cinnabon/Carvel; and Popeyes Chicken.

Travelers at the Delaware Welcome Center will benefit from tax-free shopping, as well. Four new retail shops include Z Market, a convenience store offering travel essentials (maps, batteries, etc.), newspapers, magazines and gourmet pre-packaged food to go. Postcards from Delaware, home to Delaware products that highlight the state's heritage and culture; Bijoux Terner; IShades.

Photographs of Delaware attractions and scenery, representing every county of the state grace The facility also includes a state-run Delaware Visitor Center that provides information on local and statewide attractions, events and activities.

HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining and shopping for travel venues. It operates restaurants and retail stores in 94 motorway travel plazas throughout North America and in 111 airports worldwide. It is a part of Autogrill SpA, which manages more than 5,500 stores in more than 1,200 locations worldwide.

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